A rematch of the best televised contest in recent memory featuring Daniel Bryan and CM Punk is on tap, and the season of looking and pointing at the Wrestlemania sign is now in full swing. Plus, the battle between Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis starts to get serious, bro.
Out comes World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and, in case you’ve forgotten about her, AJ, who seems to be standing by her man. As boos cascade, I must retract a statement from last Friday: Bryan continues to tout himself as a role model. He also vows to defeat Sheamus at Wrestlemania, and who do you think has something to say about that?
The Miz, surprisingly. Bryan’s former NXT mentor proclaims that he always knew Bryan would be a champion, and offers his congratulations and a suggestion that they team up in the future. Now Sheamus wants to have a word.
He swipes the mic from Miz’s hand and rips into Bryan’s integrity. Miz stands up for his new buddy, letting Bryan get in a slap before stealing away with AJ. During the ensuing break, Teddy Long sees two wrestlers in the ring together and knows what to do.
Match #1 – Sheamus vs. The Miz
Miz looks outmatched against the flying forearms and shoulder-blocks until he dodges a diving Sheamus, sending him shoulder-first into the ring-post. Miz works the arms and hits a double-axe handle off the top rope, but can’t finish his Skull-Crushing Finale; Sheamus counters with his apparently still-unnamed belly-to-back driver. Send ideas to WWE Creative.
Winner via pinfall: Sheamus
Backstage, Aksana is whispering sweet nothings into Long’s ears with her saxophone accompaniment, when John Laurinaitis and David Otunga step in (hey, where’s their instrumental cue?) and engage in a really nonsensical debate about bathrooms and dumpsters. Best comeback: Long says to Otunga “We’ll see about that, playa” ... Otunga hits back with “We will”. Burn.
Match #2 – Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero)
Swagger Bomb early on gets a two-count on Truth, and Ziggler’s follow-up elbow drop makes him feel good enough to do some sit-ups. After a little roughhousing between all four, Ziggler finishes the match with a thumb to Kingston’s eye and a Zig-Zag.
Winners via pinfall: Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
Backstage, Santino is training the Cobra, using it to peg plastic cups off of a table. Heath Slater stops by to knock all the cups off, and Santino reveals that this is a Spitting Cobra, spraying something in Slater’s eyes.
Match #3 – The Great Khali vs. Drew McIntyre
McIntyre’s losing streak is intact after a quick Punjabi Plunge.
Winner via pinfall: The Great Khali
Big Show is backstage, fuming over Cody Rhodes causing his elimination from the title picture on Monday. First, though, he’s focused on his old nemesis Mark Henry.
Match #4 – Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Henry dodges an early WMD knock-out punch, and drops Big Show with a clothesline. Henry keeps Big Show down for a while, but when Big Show gets up he responds with a spear. As he’s thinking Choke Slam, Cody Rhodes struts out and shows a clip of Big Show’s sumo match from Wrestlemania 21.
As Big Show turns back to Henry, he walks into a body slam and World's Gentlest Splash –- but it’s not enough for a three-count. Big Show pops up and lands a WMD, but goes after Rhodes instead of trying for a pinfall.
Match Result: No Contest (technically a count-out win for Henry)
The Raw Rebound is all about how The Undertaker has convinced Triple H to have another Wrestlemania match with all of the drama of a child asking for candy until the parent says “yes” just to shut them up.
Match #5 – David Otunga vs. Ezekial Jackson
We get to see Laurinaitis do the Teddy Long Shuffle ahead of this match. I’m becoming a fan. Jackson has a nice moment when he gives Otunga an Irish Whip by the throat, but Otunga gets the last word by escaping the Torture Rack and landing a large version of the Verdict.
Winner via pinfall: David Otunga
A Raw Rebound by any other name ... we see the antics between Eve and John Cena from last night. In the here and now, Matt Striker has a few words with CM Punk. As opposed to a few weeks ago, when Punk denied ever telling people how to live their lives, he makes a reference to his old Straight Edge Society before declaring that the best way to shut Bryan up is to beat him.
Match #6 – Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk
There’s a lot of time left in the broadcast, so this one should get its due. Bryan slowly takes the hammer with a focus on Punk’s left arm, making it hard for Punk to mount any kind of comeback. His feet, however, are working fine, and Bryan ducks out of the ring for a respite.
Sheamus doesn’t approve, however, running down to throw Bryan back inside with a swift kick to the head awaiting, and Punk gets the win.
Or does he? Laurinaitis rushes out and re-starts the match due to the interference. Back from break, Bryan has recovered and gets a roll-up pin with his hand on the ropes. Guess what? Teddy Long comes out and re-starts the match again.
Punk drops Bryan over the top rope and then drives out after him. They’re back in the ring quickly, though, and Bryan delivers a devastating uppercut dropkick as Punk lays against the turnbuckles. Punk turns a LeBell Lock into a convincing catapult, but Bryan stops a Macho Elbow attempt and turns it into a superplex.
As they land on the mat, both champs tie the other up with each other’s shoulders down to the mat. The ref counts to three, but for whom?
Winner via pinfall: A World Champion
Both Long and Laurinaitis step into the ring and raise Punk and Bryan’s hands, respectively, while the ref has pulled a Houdini and leaves everyone in the dark as to the outcome.
Dave Hillhouse would like to consult the WWE rule book on the WMD; closed fist punches are illegal and cause for disqualification, aren’t they? Did Kerry Von Erich ever have to deal with that?